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October 12·3 min read

Nutrition Week 2022: Part 2

Navigating nutrition labels and optimizing your hydration.

Ashley Gill – Intro to Nutrition Labels

Today we are going to talk about all things nutrition labels. I know that they can sometimes be confusing sometimes. You look at them and there’s so many different numbers, so many different and it’s like, what does that even mean? Right!? When we look at nutrition ingredients, we think, what does this mean to me?

We are going to talk about all of that so let’s move on and look at a real life example of almonds versus honey roasted almonds.

Alright, let’s start with whole natural almonds. You are going to see that almonds are the only listed ingredient. It’s important to know that the first ingredient on the ingredients list is going to be the most abundant ingredient in that product. So for this one, it’s only almonds and that’s perfect. 

We’re going to see that there are 16 servings per bag of almonds. Each serving is 28 nuts so that means each serving has 160 calories, 14g of fat, 6g of protein and 6g of carbohydrates. There is 1g of sugar, but that’s naturally occurring in almonds. 

Now let’s look at honey roasted almonds. You’re going to see that there are a lot more ingredients in this product. The second most abundant ingredient is sugar. Third most is vegetable oil and this is definitely not what we want. We can see that this product has 2 grams of added sugars making the total amount of sugar 3 grams. Remember that 1g was naturally occurring and that is totally fine, but we want to avoid those added sugars when we can.

This is a quick example of how to break down and compare different foods using the nutrition labels. Use these 3 tips below to navigate nutrition labels and choose the right foods in the right amount for you!

Things to remember – 

  1. Remember the first ingredient is the most abundant ingredient and we want the least amount of ingredients possible. 

  2. Don’t eat calories calculated for someone else because we are all unique and need a unique set of calories and macros

  3. Pay attention to that serving size

Kyle Gonzalez – Hydration

Now let's talk about one of my favorite topics - Hydration. 

So for hydration, most people just think about water. Drinking, absorbing, and replenishing water are all important, but we really have to think about a formula of water plus electrolytes. Together, these two things can help us keep our body temperature regulated, nerves conducting well, muscles contracting well, keeping our joints lubricated, and helping our energy, mood, and overall cognition. The list is endless.

Now, the important questions becomes: how do we stay hydrated? My top 3 tips are making sure you’re trying to get around half your bodyweight in fluid ounces, making sure to keep a water bottle handy, and setting constant reminders for yourself. These are some quick and simple ways to try and stay hydrated and stay healthy. Check out some of the benefits of hydration as well as some other ways you can optimize your hydration habits.  

Benefits and importance of optimal hydration

  • Regulate body temperature

  • Keep joints lubricated

  • Prevent infections

  • Aids in digestion

  • Normalize blood pressure

  • Deliver nutrients to the cells

  • Improves sleep quality

  • Enhances cognition and mood

  • Electrical signaling

  • Improves energy 

  • Fewer muscle cramps and headaches

  • Improved skin health

Ways to Optimize your Hydration

  • Monitor hydration levels using urine frequency, urine color, sweat monitors, blood work, and subjective energy levels

  • Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables

  • Make hydration a game or challenge (by yourself or with friends and family)

  • Keep a water bottle/container with you and filled throughout the day

  • Adjust and adapt your fluid needs based on your environment (temperature, humidity, etc)

  • Adjust and adapt your fluid needs based on your age, body size, and activity level

  • Monitor your caffeine and alcohol consumption and adjust hydration habits accordingly

  • Add natural, non-processed, calorie free flavoring to your water if needed for taste

 

Our bodies are around 50-70% water and our kidneys filter around 200 liters of fluids per day so make sure you are doing what you can to stay hydrated and remember hydration = water + electrolytes.

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